Well, I officially don’t know where Sakugan is going right now, at least in the short term. Do we know how many episodes the series is supposed to be? Because I’d been operating under the assumption it would be your standard 12-13 episode season, and figured “Oh My Tony” would be focused on setting up things for our eventual finale. There’s even a perfect spot for it here, as I fully expected the Shibito agents we keep seeing in the OP to kidnap Memempu and set us up for a final arc. But nope, Gagumber (and Merooro) came barreling in to keep the show’s collective daughter safe and sound, so I have no real idea what to expect in the (presumably) last couple of episodes.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Plot advancement is generally pretty far down my list of priorities, so if we do end up waiting for a second cour/season, I’m fine as long as what we have left is entertaining. And while episode 10 isn’t as standout as the previous ones, it’s still a solid way to both re-establish important world-building and fully get our main duo back on the same page. The latter is decidedly more interesting than the former, as while learning that each colony features “Princesses” as political figureheads is neat, it’s not particularly pertinent to anything right now. It’s obvious said princesses are going to tie into the “Rainbow Children” the Shibito characters bring up later, but that’s all just functional placesetting rather than anything immediately compelling. Heck, we even learn all this by having Merooro give the other characters a PowerPoint presentation – that’s when you know a show’s just trying to get its exposition out of the way.
Character-wise things work a lot better. I’ll even give Merooro props for not turning out to be evil yet. In fact he’s honestly endearing this week, between touring the squad around his mobile nature preserve, quietly deleting Zackletu and Yuri’s criminal records, and eventually trolling Gagumber to spur him to action. Even Merooro seems aware he has an untrustworthy demeanor, and he uses that to play the bad guy very well when he needs to. I still don’t trust him, but by god he’s starting to win me over. Which is probably exactly what he wants! That evil mastermind!
His presence also reignites Gagumber’s parental insecurity in a big way, and while a bit of a retread from episode five, I do still appreciate it here. Just as Memempu needed reassurance that her dad and the other adults will always support her unconditionally, Gagumber needs to internalize that his daughter still loves him despite his faults. He’s a simple man, and the larger mysteries of the world fly miles above his head. That’s only going to get more true as Memempu grows up and starts exploring the Labyrinth in earnest, so he needs to realize that even if he can’t give her everything, earnest love and support are enough in the end. It’s still funny to see him get huffy over some parental NTR (PareNTR?) and down a whole twelve pack of beers though. Gagumber is a trailer park dad through and through.
There’s another familial relationship in this episode, though it’s not actually fleshed out just yet. But I’ve seen enough anime to know that the young Shibito assassin and the older man giving her orders are going to be used as some kind of foils for Gagumber and Memempu. I’m not sure how, yet – that’s going to heavily depend on how many episodes are left and what the show does with that time – but that seems like a promising vein to tap. That parent-child dynamic is the defining element of Sakugan and the one it brings up every chance it gets, so giving us another father/daughter duo to explore would be invaluable alongside shedding light on all the mysteries still obscured in the background.
Otherwise, how I feel about this episode is going to depend on what comes after. If there’s a lot more Sakugan left, then this makes for a fine lull in the story to do some necessary character work and place setting. If there isn’t, well, like I said, I have no idea where the show could plan to end here. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Sakugan is currently streaming on